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Port plans underwater delta look

By SUE RYAN

News staff writer

February 24, 2007

Now that an aerial survey of the delta has been completed, the Port of Hood River will have the underwater portion surveyed as well.

Port of Hood River commissioners approved a contract for $5,120 with Northwest Hydro, Inc. at their Tuesday meeting. The firm will survey how far the site extends underwater.

“It will also help us to establish and monitor if it is moving north and west,” said Michael McElwee, the port’s executive director.

The 26-acre sand, dirt, and log-encrusted lot came down river during a Nov. 5-8 flooding and landslide event in Hood River County. The debris flows came off Mount Hood and picked up additional silt and logs along the way, ending at the confluence of the Hood and Columbia rivers.

The port commissioners discussed the recent waterfront recreation meeting on how to address recreation concerns and safety for this summer. Commission chairwoman Sherry Bohn said some participants asked at the meeting about the opening of Lot 6 for recreational pursuits. She said those enquiries were directed to the city of Hood River, which now holds the deed to that parcel for a future waterfront park.

An additional meeting will be held in mid-March by the committee at which more information on water levels and flows will be shared with the public as well as results from the underwater surveying. Between now and then, the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association and Columbia Gorge Kiteboarding Association are meeting with their members to brainstorm ideas for how to share the space this spring and summer.

Because of the inundation of sand, the areas for kiteboarding and windsurfing have been condensed into a smaller space than before. Commissioners discussed signage issues as well as whose jurisdiction the delta falls under for emergency services and ownership. McElwee demonstrated on an oversize copy of the aerial photo that the city boundary slashes diagonally across the lower third of the delta nearest the Event Site. The remainder, two-thirds or possibly more, lies within state jurisdiction under the Department of State Lands. McElwee said the state and port will finalize the ownership issue in coming months.

In other business, the commission approved $6,923 in change orders for the toll plaza remodel project. The money was to change canopy lights from quartz to halide and for additional excavation and disposal. Contractors found heated concrete with rebar under the old tollbooth, which had to be removed.

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